I am part of that group known as “GRITS” – girls raised in the south. I was born in Florida and spent my most formative years there. Well before the various ancestry databases were put on the internet (before there was even an internet), both my parents could trace their histories back multiple generations, even as far as the Revolutionary War.
My southern roots run deep; I was well into adulthood before my career prompted me to move away.
I’m more than one of the GRITS, though.
Where my “people” are from is just one of countless labels that could be used to describe me. I’m sure that’s true of you, too. We all anchor our identities in things like where we’re from, our career choices, sports allegiances, religious affiliations, and political parties, to name just a few. These descriptors become part of our personal narrative that helps us (and others) understand who we are. It’s pleasant to discover shared interests – or establish the basis for some good-natured ribbing – in order to enjoy common ground with other people.
But I wonder if there is a different way to think about our roots?
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Maybe. I’ve wondered and imagined and told random children it was. But the truth is, before I bought my house 22 years ago, my neighbors tell me there was a fish pond in the backyard. It had a sidewalk leading up to it and a little bridge going over it.
When they decided they were done with the annoying upkeep, though, apparently they broke up the sidewalk and took out the bridge, then just filled the fish pond with dirt and planted grass on top of it. Now every time the temperature goes above 80 or two days pass without rain, the grass dies in this shape.
I didn’t know this before I bought the house because I closed on it in the middle of winter, when there was snow covering the grass.
I once talked to a landscaping service about digging the darn thing up and it was just too expensive, so I live with this ugly eyesore in my backyard. It’s a good reminder of a couple of things:
- Deep roots are critical for real growth. That’s such an in-your-face object lesson it almost doesn’t even need to be said. But I sometimes need to be reminded that I can be as shallow as that grass if I don’t cultivate some depth in my life.
- What’s buried never really goes away. My lawn looks great as long as the conditions are ideal. But that fish pond is still there, heavy and useless, just under the surface. If I want a perfect backyard (is there such a thing?), I’m going to have to get that thing taken out. It’s going to cost me and it’s going to be involved. What’s buried in my life that needs to be removed for me to be healthy?
- I settle for less than perfection a lot. That’s not really a bad thing, as long as I don’t get all frustrated and weird when things aren’t perfect. If I don’t want to have to explain the dead patch to guests, I either have to get it fixed or I have to not care. But I can’t get mad at the grass for not growing.
What do you see in this patch of dead grass? Are there any other lessons to be learned (or are there any bored landscapers out there who find it offensive and want to come help me out?)